My friends and I made plans to ride in Yellowstone last fall. It’s a day-long ride we’ve done before, twelve of us, in all.
We brought along our horses in trailers pulled by trucks. I had no clue I’d later think, this day just really sucks.
We started at Old Faithful on a brisk October day and aimed for Bechler Ranger Station, thirty miles away.
I could hear the click as saddle bags were buckled in their places. Those cowboys were excited. I could see it in their faces.
The cowboys wore their leather chaps and hats all pulled down tight. Their down filled coats would keep them warm all day and into night.
The horses’ breaths were steaming in the cold October air. It was time to hit the trail, and we had no time to spare.
Now let me take you back a bit before our ride began. There were four lady riders who were bound to join our clan.
They had all just started riding but were dressed to fit the part. And what was so surprising was their stop at Mini-Mart.
They thought they had some extra time and bought some soda pop. They must have had a mighty thirst. They filled it to the top.
Well, they climbed up on their horses. Only rode a mile or so before that pop had run its course. And then they had to go.
We helped the ladies climb on down. Into the woods they went. Then helped each one back on her horse, just like a proper gent.
On down the trail our horses walked but stopped when (wouldn’t you know?) another lady called out loud, “I really gotta go!”
So once again we helped her down and then back on her horse. I warned them all, “We’re running late. We’ve got to stay the course.”
We rode a few more miles, and then I heard a desperate plea, “I know we’re short of time, but, guys, I really gotta pee.”
I wondered just how many times in one day they could go. I stopped the count about half way. I didn’t want to know.
We stopped at Bechler River, to have a real quick bite. The horses drank and ate some oats. By now we’re losing light.
The day was done. The sun went down. The time had gone too slow. But after dark I never heard, “I really gotta go.”
We finally reached the station. Yes, our patience had been tried, and my body was a total wreck. I was completely fried.
So when we take that ride again, I’ll offer some advice. Leave all the soda pop at home, or we might not be so nice.